Will we see Phil Mickelson using two drivers at the U.S. Open?
Phil Mickelson can’t help himself when it comes to equipment. The man with five major championships is an inveterate tinkerer and Lefty was at it again at the Memorial Tournament, using two Callaway Epic Flash drivers—one that’s a little shorter to hit “cute baby cuts” and the other a bit longer to hit “bombs.” To make room, Mickelson took out his 3-wood. Although one driver is a 9-degree Epic Flash Sub Zero that has been his current gamer while the other, shorter-length club is the company's standard Epic Flash at 10.5 degrees, Mickelson said after his first round that both are 8.5 degrees. He also noted that the longer driver is about 1.25 inches more in length, offering this explanation:
"My angle of attack is more up, my swing speed is up 4 miles per hour. Ball speed faster. I hit it a lot farther. My swing is different than a lot of the young guys, where they're very connected and have fast switch muscles that explode through the ball. My body moves a little lethargic. I use length of arc for great speed. I need longer shafts and timing to be able to create the same kind of speed. … I launch this thing at 16, 17 [degrees]. You cannot control that. That is such a high launch you can't control that 14 times a round. So I put one in that's a little shorter. My angle of attack is down, my launch is closer to 11.5, 12 [degrees, which is] much easier to control."
Mickelson announced his intention in a video that he posted to Instagram and Twitter, poking some fun at Bubba Watson along the way. But while the video might have been lighthearted, the dual-driver strategy recalls numerous occasions where Mickelson has strayed from the norm in his equipment setup. On many instances he has left a 4-, or even an 8- or 9-iron out of the bag. He’s also played majors without a driver, opting for a high-octane 3-wood instead. And this certainly isn’t the first time he’s employed two drivers at an event.
At the 2006 BellSouth Classic Mickelson used a pair of Callaway Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 drivers. Mickelson’s decision to try two drivers (and ditch his sand wedge) was done in an effort to work the ball both left and right without altering his swing. Although comfortable hitting his "baby cut" with his gamer, Mickelson had to change his move to hit a draw. The second driver was one-inch longer (46 inches as opposed to 45 on his gamer) with a lower center of gravity. Along with moving some internal weight to make it more draw-friendly, the club provided Mickelson the desired shot with his normal swing and he won the BellSouth and the following week’s Masters.
The bigger question, however, is whether or not Phil will reprise 2006 and attempt to fill in the only missing line on his playing resume by using two drivers at Pebble Beach G.L. for the upcoming U.S. Open, although he did offer a hint, saying, "I should have a reasonable chance of hitting some fairways the rest of the year with that club," referencing the shorter driver. One thing that’s not debatable, however, is that it’s never dull in the equipment arena when it comes to Mickelson and his sticks.